Request by former employee for personnel file

Right to access information about self retained by an organization
By Tim Mitchell
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 11/28/2012

Question: If a dismissed employee signed a release and confidentiality agreement and was represented by his lawyer, does the employer have to give the ex-employee a copy of his personnel file? If so, does the whole file have to be turned over?

Answer: It is sound human resources practice to provide an employee or former employee with access to her employee file on request. The most straightforward reason for this is that it accords with an employer’s duties under privacy legislation. A person has the right to access personal information about herself retained by an organization.

Within the federal sphere, privacy legislation provides fulsome rights of access to personal information. In Alberta, employees under both the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (public sphere — FOIP) and the Personal Information Protection Act (private sphere —PIPA) likewise have the right to view personal information collected about them.